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Two Weeks Out: Ward Vs. Kovalev Rematch

What promises to be the fight of the year, Andre Ward versus Sergey Kovalev, will take place on June 17th at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Light-heavyweight boxers Andre “Son of God” Ward and Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev will go head-to-head once again after Ward beat Kovalev in a very close fight last November. Even though the judges came to a unanimous decision, there has still been talk about the fight being “close,” lending to it being considered a controversial win by Ward.
 
Ward has answered these comments by agreeing to a June rematch. In a phone interview with the L.A. Times, he stated, “This is necessary. This is….to set the record straight once and for all. It’s less about me. I’m secure with the first fight. It was no robbery. It was a close fight that I won.” Indeed the fight was close, with all three judges scoring the fight 114-113 in Ward’s favor, but many, including Kovalev, believe the win should have gone to the him instead. Insight into the fight has been brought to you by Chantilly Martial Arts.
 
Ward, who won a 2004 Olympic Boxing gold medal, announced his bid to rematch Kovalev back in April of this year, but Kovalev, who was undefeated until November’s upset delivered by Ward, states it was only a matter of time due to a rematch clause inserted into the original contract.
 
Ward does not seem worried at all about the rematch and insinuated in an interview with the L.A. Times that it has to do with the “mentality” and “heart of each fighter.” He furthered this notion by stating that he has learned a lot about Kovalev over the past several months by observing his behaviors and responses to adversity. Ward named these as weaknesses and stating bluntly he would be “tapping into that weakness from round one.”
 
Ward did not stop there. He went on to criticize Kovalev’s handling of defeat, stating he makes a lot of excuses, insinuating that it was this tendency in Kovalev that caused him to lose the fight last November. He then gave credit to his own trainer, Virgil Hunter, for instilling in him the drive and perseverance necessary to successfully navigate the tough parts of the fight to see things through to a win. Indeed, during November’s fight, things were not looking up for Ward in the second round, but he came back to earn a unanimous decision by three judges.
 
There is definitely a lot of tension between Ward and Kovalev. Kovalev believes he performed well enough in November’s match that he should have won and, apparently, many fans seated ringside, also, felt this way. To add insult to injury, Ward was a no show to a publicity interview with Kovalev on the HBO “Face Off with Max Kellerman.” Kovalev states he had taken time off of training to show up, only to find out it was postponed due to Ward’s absence.
 
Kovalev has responded to Ward’s agreement for a rematch by stating he “really hopes” that Ward will step back into the ring for the June rematch. He states his fans will see the “real Krusher” in this upcoming match, going on to insinuate that he has not performed at his optimal level in the last couple of fights. Kovalev stated in an interview, “For me, this rematch is very important as no other bout in my entire boxing career.”
 
CBS Sports deems Ward to be the “best pound-for-pound fighter,” but Kovalev follows this ranking closely at spot number four. It remains to be seen if Kovalev can redeem himself from the November 2016 upset. Adding to the excitement is Kovalev’s threat to end his career if he loses the rematch, according to TMZ, fueling Ward’s desire to put forth his best effort during the upcoming rematch. Ward states he is not threatened by Kovalev’s threats and states he “has big problems” come June.
 
Considering how close the original match was and how devoted each boxer is to his sport and to winning this rematch, no doubt this will be the fight of the year, if not the decade, with lots at stake for both boxers. Both are ready and willing to square off once again and it will, if nothing else, be a very exciting match up. The Andre Ward versus Sergey Kovalev rematch has been set for June 17th at Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, but can also be seen on HBO pay-per-view.

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Mayweather V. McGregor Off Again?

It’s been several months now of non-stop on and off negotiations and speculation about whether or not Connor McGregor will actually end up squaring off in a boxing ring with the undefeated Floyd Mayweather. Last month, the story was that Dana White of the UFC had finally thrown his support behind the fight which was the one big snag in the whole process. So, it looked like it was finally going to happen pending all the details getting hammered out on paper. Now, we have reason to believe that it may not be that simple.
 
The story now is that the UFC and Dana White may be reconsidering their stance. This is because of the simple and very real possibility of McGregor choosing to stay with the WBC after the Mayweather fight due to the large discrepancy in the money he can earn in Boxing versus the money he can earn in the UFC. McGregor fought a couple of times last year in the UFC and earned 40 million dollars for those fights. For this one fight in boxing he would stand to earn 75 million which is almost double for one third of the fights.
 
Now, will McGregor stand to earn that sort of money in boxing no matter who he fights? No way. However, in regular fights against other lesser know but still big name fighters he would still pull in almost double what he was earning in the UFC. White and the UFC will now, likely, need a tangible reassurance that McGregor will in fact return to the UFC within a year of the Mayweather fight. This would most likely mean Conor re-signing with the UFC before the Mayweather fight is cleared with an allowance for him to participate in that fight as a special condition. He will also still need to pay White and the UFC a considerable sum of his earnings from the fight.
 
The question then becomes: What happens if McGregor does the impossible and beats Floyd Mayweather? Will there be a rematch? Will he get the chance to defend his title against other boxers in the future? Could he ever possibly split time between boxing and MMA? Only time will tell.
 

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Will Triple G Actually End Up Fighting Canelo?

There hasn’t been much in the way for Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez recently. Both fighters have been absolutely dominating their respective weight classes. Canelo at light middleweight and Triple G at middle weight. Less than ten pounds separate the two champions yet a fight between the two seems a distant possibility. Apparently, in order for a fight between the two to happen both would need to agree to fight at Golovkin’s weight of 160 pounds – no difficult feat for Canelo who walks around at 170 pounds. The issue, as always in the WBC, is money. Canelo’s team is concerned that the fighters might not be making their maximum purses if they decide to fight each other too soon.
 
Regardless, if the fight doesn’t happen it would surely hurt Canelo’s reputation in the boxing community at large because, since his loss to Floyd Maywheather in 2013, he has been often criticized for fighting down to opponents whereas a fight against Triple G would surely be a step up, not only in weight but also in stature for Canelo. Golovkin on the other hand would not suffer much criticism, if any because he has been making fights happen that fans have wanted his entire career. That almost cost him in his most recent bout against Daniel Jacobs which ended his eight year knock out streak but still ended up in a decision victory.
 
Both fighters can continue to act like their other upcoming fights really matter (and a few may, mainly for Golovkin) but the cold hard fact is this: Canelo Vs. Golovkin is the fight the whole boxing world is ready and quite eager to see. Canelo is set to square of with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr soon. Golovkin is set to fight Billy Joe Saunders in June. If they were to fight each other, September would be prime time for them to step into the ring finally.
 

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Nonprofit Organization Helps Keeps Kids Out Of Harms Way With Boxing

Beating Up Bad Habits is a local Boston-area boxing and community program that offers boxing instruction to kids and teens while also offering mentoring and whatever general help they may need. This program works much like the local boxing gym did in HBO’s The Wire where troubled youth were given a physical and emotional outlet to deal with their problems while simultaneously keeping them off the streets and away from trouble. The program was started by philanthropist David Villada and offers help to all children eight and above.
 
Villada says that he founded the program because he felt that he couldn’t stand on the sidelines while kids were out on the streets having their lives ruined by crime and the culture of the inner city. At the moment, he has seventy five children enrolled and almost fifteen percent of them are fighting amateur fights in the USA Boxing League currently. And that’s not even the most important part of all of this: almost all the kids enrolled in his program have shown positive increases in their grades and huge decreases in school absences.
 
That’s the real point of the program according to Villada – keeping kids in school and off of the streets. Since the tremendous success of his program has gained some national notoriety other similar programs are showing up all around the country. One such place is the Plano martial arts academy in Plano, Texas. Be sure to check around you locally for these gyms as they can always use volunteers and donations. For more information you can visit this link.
 

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As the year 2016 comes to the final stretch, boxing enthusiast cannot help but sit back and reflect on the year that was in the boxing arena. While there weren’t a Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao kind of boxing sensations in the course of the year, many 4 and 5 star boxers lit the stage with their pre-match eloquence, jaw breaking power punches, foot works and of course out-of-the ring brawls. Without further ado, here are 3 boxing fights that actually defined the 2016 boxing arena.
 
1. Francisco Vargas vs. Orlando Salido
The match took place on O4/06/2016 and happened just some 24 hours after the demise of the boxing great Muhammad Ali. To the delight of fans at the StubHub Center, the Mexicans put on a thrilling show and, ultimately, shared the spoils of the game.

Francisco Vargas, nicknamed El Bandido by his adoring fans, is a nine-time Mexican amateur champion (as of writing this article) in the Mexican amateur championship. The 35-year-old boxer entered the match as the defending WBC Super Featherweight champion. Vargas had previously won 18 matches in a row and was thus considered a hot favorite for this match. Of importance is that he had won 14 of the 18 matches through technical knockout.

Orlando Salido, on the other hand, came into this game as a two time world champion in the IBF featherweight category and WBO super featherweight category. He had previously fought Lomachenko, Orlando Cruz, and Roman Martinez and registered mixed results in the process.

The Mexican brawlers went for a toe-to-toe kind of contest much to the thrills of the crowd at StubHub. At the end of pulsating 12 rounds of action, 2,000 punches had been thrown and Vargas had suffered bruises all over his face thanks to repeated head butts by Salido. Even then, the thrilling contest ended as majority draw with two of the judges calling out 114-114 scoreline. Vargas kept his WBC championship while Salido was made to wait for another chance to win the coveted title. Overall, the fight registered a massive 954,000 viewership on HBO making it one of the prominent fights of 2016.
 
2. Roman Gonzalez vs. Carlos Cuadras
This was yet another battle of the titans that stretched all the way to the 12th round. The action took place on 10/09/2016 at the iconic INGLEWOOD forum, California. Nicaraguan Gonzalez came to the match on the backdrop of 10/11 knockouts in his previous outings. But Mexican Carlos Cuadras was no mean opponent either. He was, until this match, the WBC Super Flyweight Champion and his quick hands and a combination of punches drew raucous shouts from fans throughout the fight.

Roman Gonzalez, admiringly nicknamed “Chocolatito” by fans was the first Nicaraguan to win a title in each of four weight classes he took part. Be brought to this match an 83% knockout-to-win. Equally impressive, Gonzalez had won all the 45 matches he played prior to the match and was actually ranked as the world’s number one pound for pound boxer by The Ring.

Mexican Carlos Cuadras Quiroa came to the match as the defending WBC World Super Flyweight champion and had an impressive 73% knockout-to-win. Of the 36 matches played to the big game, Carlos had won 34, drawn once and lost once.

The Gonzalez vs. Cuadras was dabbed as the contest of the little guys. Even then, the match was nothing short of exciting. Gonzalez’s superb footwork and power punches were countered by Cuadras’ quick hands action and a winner’s mentality. The 12th round was especially exhilarating with both contenders put in a great show. After a bruising 12 rounds, and 1,822 punches, Roman Gonzalez was declared the new WBC World Super Flyweight champion ahead of the relentless Cuadras.
 
3. Jamie Conlan vs. Anthony Nelson
What a sensational match this was! Though it was only billed to be an undercard match, the Jamie vs. Nelson fight turned out to be one of the most enthralling boxing matches of 2016. Conlan, who eventually emerged the winner, was receiving all the shots in the opening stages of the match. By the seven rounds Conlan had already been sent to the canvas and not many expected the turn of events in eighth round.

Jamie Conlan from Northern Ireland had previously played 17 times winning 10 of those through knockouts. Conlan first major win was over Benjamin Smoes and won the WBO European Super Flyweight champion. He also defeated Jose Estrella of Mexico to win the WBO Inter-Continental belt.

Anthony Nelson has had varied results in his playing career winning four titles and 11/11 wins before this match. As opposed to Conlan’s profile though, Anthony had only registered 2 knock outs.

Despite their relatively low profiles in the boxing arena, the brawlers went on to register some thrilling touches on the ring at the Copper Box Arena, London. It was Conlan who dictated things at the early stages, with his younger brother Michael cheering him from ringside. But a combination of experience and sharp come-forward shots, Nelson fought off his opponent and actually pressed him to the ropes for long periods of time. By the seventh round, Conlan had gone down and was nearly giving up. It’s in the eighth round that Conlan mastered courage and registered some heroic punches that sent Nelson to the ground and ultimately delivered the title to him. It was billed to be small match but ended up attracting attention from the big men of the ring.
 
Whats to come:
The year 2016 has no doubt been great for boxing enthusiasts, fans and players alike. As the year 2017 unfolds, expect to witness even more matches on the cards. The most notable will be the David Haye vs. Tony Bellew, Adrien Broner v Adrian Granados and the mouthwatering Anthony Joshua v Wladimir Klitschko expected to take place in April of 2017.

In summary, while you didn’t see the big names such as David Haye, Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko squaring it of on the rings, upcoming boxers also proved to be a force to reckon. Brawlers such as Roman Gonzalez, Francisco Vargas and Orlando Salido proved to be equally vicious on the world stage you can only expect them to get better in the coming years.

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One of the most dynamic sports fields in the world is boxing. Unlike in other sports where some players may reign as champions for a very long time, it’s a little bit different in boxing. Here, you may find a much feared champion being knocked out in as early as the second round of his next event. It’s never quite a surprise to hear that a big name in boxing has conceded defeat to an opponent who is relatively unknown.
 
Of special interest are the World Boxing Association (WBA) fights. These fights tend to be tougher in comparison to other fights because first of all, they only pit together professional boxers and not amateur boxers as may happen in other boxing federations. Secondly, the WBA matches aren’t a child’s play because boxers crave the prestige of being a WBA champion and hence give their very best while in the ring.
 
Who are the best young WBA boxers?
 
We all know about WBA big names such as Floyd Mayweather Jr, Manny Pacquiao, Jorge Linares, and Amir Khan among others. These are senior or relatively senior boxers who have over time stamped their authority in their respective WBA weight classes. Who, however are some of the best young talents the WBA currently has? Well, here is a list of seven boxers aged 27 and below who are proving excellence in WBA competitions:
 
1. Canelo Alvarez
 
A list young boxing sensations wouldn’t be complete without including Saul Canelo Alvarez. Having recently taken on a much dreaded Gennady Golovkin, the 26 year old Mexican boxer is probably the bravest and most spirited young boxer that the boxing world currently has The current WBO light middleweight champion and former WBA Unified light middleweight title holder has a record of 48 wins out of 50 professional matches. He has only 1 loss and a single draw. The Mexican also boasts of 34 knockout wins to his name.
 
Furthermore, Canelo has proved he is a force to reckon by facing a number of elite boxers in the past. His list of well known opponents include Amir Khan, Floyd Mayweather Jr, and Erislandy Lara among others.
 
2. Keith Thurman
 
Keith Thurman is a decorated boxer. He has held the WBA welterweight title ever since 2013. He is also ranked 2nd best welterweight in the world by BoxRec and Ring Magazine.
 
The 27 year old American star has 27 wins out of 28 career matches and a total of 22 knockouts. He has previously fought notable stars such Julio Diaz, Robert Guerrero, and Luis Collazo among many more He certainly a star within the rings.
 
3. Adrien Broner
 
Adrien Broner is an American boxing star who has the feat of being a four weight champion at just the age of 27. He started out his professional boxing career as a super featherweight in 2008 and at the moment, he is competing at welterweight.
 
Broner’s list of titles include WBO Junior Lightweight, WBC Lightweight, WBA Welterweight, and WBA Super Lightweight among others. He is indeed a sterling sportsman.
 
4. Dmitry Bivol
 
The 25 year old Russian is the current WBA light heavyweight interim champion. Although he hasn’t been in the professional boxing realm long enough, he is proving to be a talent to watch out for as he has won all of his 8 professional matches. Out of these wins, he has 6 knockouts. His remaining two wins have been by the judges’ unanimous decision.
 
The promising boxer scooped the WBA light heavyweight interim title from Dominican Republic’s Felix Valera in May this year
 
5. Juan Francisco Estrada
 
Juan Francisco Estrada or El gallito as he is fondly referred to is a former WBA Unified flyweight title holder. The pugilist has had 34 wins in 36 professional matches and 24 of these have been by knockout.
 
El Gallito recently moved up to the bantamweight category where he floored Raymond Tabugon in his debut match. Estrada also proved he is made of steel in 2012 when he put up a spirited fight against Roman Gonzalez, only losing to him by marginal points. He had come down his natural weight division to face the Nicaraguan star at light flyweight.
 
6. Tony Lopez Jr
 
Some would want to argue that he doesn’t deserve a mention in this list but the young American has shown the world he has what it takes to be a boxing bigwig in the very near future. At only 22 years of age, the bantamweight fighter is already taking on more experienced fighters such as Stephon Young among others. The youthful boxer is a former WBC Youth International bantamweight champion and is ranked 7th by the North American Boxing Association (NASA).
 
Lopez Jr has only suffered 1 loss out of his 12 professional matches. He has 4 knockout wins which is quite encouraging considering his age and the fact that he has not had much amateur and professional experiences in comparison to his opponents. He further showcased his capability of becoming a star when he recently stopped a more experienced Jerren Cochran in the second round of a HBO event.
 
The world certainly has to keep its eyes open for this boxing starlet that is emerging from the North of America.
 
7. Randy Moreno
United States’ promising young talent doesn’t stop at Lopez Jr, there is also another American young boxer who is proving to be a star in the making. This is none other than super featherweight fighter Randy Moreno. The 20 year old vounaster who is sianed with Rov Jones Jr Boxina Promotions recently defeated Derick
 
Barthomley at the Knockout Night at the D event to improve his ranking to 2-0 with 1 knockout. His win came after a 4th round unanimous decision by the judges. Moreno has also previously taken on various experienced boxers in the U.S.
 
The Las Vegas star has just started but he certainly holds promise of becoming an ace very soon.
 
There you have it, seven of the young WBA boxers who are proving their capability within the ring. The list locked out some well known names such as Kell Brooks and Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez because of the issue 01 26 years cutoff age. It is important to note that there apparently isn’t any definite criteria of ranking a boxer as either young or senior aged. The 26 years of age cutoff limit was just for the sake of this article. There are many other young boxers who haven’t been included in this list but are certainly doing great in their sport.

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Floyd Mayweather Jr has been pretty critical of knockout artist and fan favorite Gennady Golovkin recently and many people think that this is a clever way of Mayweather challenging the middleweight champ to a bout sometime in the not so distant future. This makes sense as the interest is no longer there for a second bout with Manny Paqiuao or Canelo Alvarez – Mayweather, by far, stands to make the most money coming back to fight Golovkin. Mayweather said of Golovkin:
 
“He’s a guy that is straight up and down. [He] Really [has] no special effects. He’s got good punching power, but no special effects. You guys already know what would have happened if it was me [facing Golovkin].”
 
Strong words for someone out of the fight game for over a year at this point. Nonetheless, this super-fight has already generated super amounts of interest from fans with trends on social media regarding the potential fight. It would be the ultimate end to Mayweather’s career to go out with a victory over the best knockout fighter since, arguably, Mike Tyson. It would also square Mayweather’s record away at 50-0.
 
Golovkin has yet to respond to Mayweather’s remarks but likely won’t in the near future being the man of few words he has always been. A fight between these two would truly be a clash between opposite ends of the spectrum both as fighters and as personalities. On Mayweather’s side you have the greatest defensive tactician that boxing has ever seen and who does half of his fighting out of the ring with words. On Golovkin’s side you have one of the best pure knockout champions who is as straight to the point with his boxing as he is with his simply worded press replies. A fight between these two could single-handedly revive the sport of boxing and would be quite the spectacle to watch.
 
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